Love is not black and white, nor fifty shades of grey. Love is a spectrum of an emotion-fuelled quest for a life partner. Always bound to be a rollercoaster of a ride; breakups always get a more negative connotation. But not all relationships’ goodbyes are bad. There is that instance, once in a blue moon, when two people agree to disagree, love fades away, and the hunt for a soulmate continues.
Reading-based singer/songwriter Etham taps into the unexplored territory on his new single ‘Guilty.’ This release’s softness and gut-wrenching honesty are timely testaments to his talent for interpreting personal experiences, construed to a universal relatable sing-along ballad.
Etham’s perfect pitch vocals thrive at the forefront of acoustic arrangements, driven by simple guitar or piano compositions. It sounds like Etham has been used to taking charge with his voice and performing like there’s tomorrow since his busking days.
“We’ll be fine on our own,” sings Etham on ‘Guilty,’ offering a reassuring perspective for himself and other people going through a breakup. Similarly, in his previous single, ‘I Won’t,’ he builds a safe space through his emotionally intelligent songwriting.
Sitting in a studio, Etham talks to Noctis about his new record and the upcoming EP he is finishing. He details tour life and his connection with South Korea and artist GEMINI.
When you got your first drum kit at the age of 5, do you remember what was the first song you learned?
No idea, I was probably just drumming to whatever was playing and just trying to make the beat fit.
When you were busking on street corners and uploading covers on Youtube, what do you think your younger self needed to hear back then?
I think just keep going, don’t get wrapped up in what people think or say, just be confident and give everything.
What do you miss the most about busking?
I think it was honestly making the money because I started when I was 15 and it was fun to have some extra pocket money that I could spend on trains for sessions in London and I knew if I kept going then it would help pay for stuff like that.
Can you recall the moment when you got to the next step of being noticed and recording your original material?
Yeah it was really nice because at the beginning you don’t really know what you’re doing and I struggled to write good songs so when eventually they started to become recognised it was a nice relief that the hard work was finally paying off
Could you pin point your improvements or personal growth listening to your debut EP ‘Better Now’?
I think back then I used to try so much and sometimes over sing to try and impress when music should be an outlet of expression and I sometimes think trying to impress people took over more than me actually doing something that I wanted to do.
What is the backstory of your mega-hit ‘12:45 (Stripped)’?
So I took a few friends on a writing trip for a week and we just wrote a bunch of songs and one night we stayed up really late just jamming and someone started playing the chords for 12:45 so we were just messing around with melodies and began to write 12:45. The original version actually had drums and way more stuff on it but I felt like it worked better as a ballad and pretty thankful that it worked out.
In 2017, you shared the spotlight at BST Hyde Park with names like Justin Bieber, Anne-Marie,and Kings of Leon. Dead or alive, who would you like to share the stage with and what would youwant to perform together?
I think sharing the stage with Stevie Wonder would be pretty insane.
What are your tour essentials?
Not a lot really, just a few outfits, tea, vitamins, maybe my recording gear depending on how long the tour is and then my headphones.
Could you share some of your favourite memories from your tour supporting Sabrina Claudio?
I think the show in The Netherlands in Utrecht was a massive highlight, the crowd was so good, the venue was amazing and then just had a really nice evening after the show.
Was there an audience that particularly surprised you?
I think The Netherlands were a lot more up for it than I thought because I wasn’t sure if anyone had heard of my music before.
How did you upcoming tour in Korea come about?
I did a festival there last year and a lot of people came to watch and sing so I feel like I have to go back and do a longer show and really enjoy time out there.
What can you tell us about a collaboration with GEMINI, South Korea’s rising pop sensation?
I was there in November for a writing trip and luckily got to meet and hang with him and his team, we played each other some music and just caught up and then a few months later I sent him a song to see if he’s be up for collaborating and he loved the song so we decided to collab and put the song out!
What are your latest singles ‘I Won’t and ‘Guilty’ about?
I Won’t is about a dysfunctional relationship I went through but also about not giving up because sometimes that person is too close to home to completely remove from your life and although giving up is sometimes an option it’s hard to fully let go and just walk away.
And then Guilty is about a relationship I had Years ago but ended in breaking up but it didn’t end badly and I’ve also seen a lot of other relationships that ended on good terms and then also ones that ended badly and I just feel that sometimes no matter how much wrong someone does I think your worth more to not let this effect you in such a negative way. I think there’s a huge positive that you get to move on to someone new who actually might be the one rather than getting angry that you haven’t found it yet. I think whatever it was either good or bad I think it’s best to just leave it as a memory that’ll either love or learn from and then move on.
What will your upcoming project represent to you? What sort of chapter in your life are you tappinginto?
I think right now I’m just focused on building my future and what I can inject into the world through my music and also do my best to be present and enjoy every moment.